Thursday, February 28, 2008


Thanks to everyone who took part in the "happiness in the workplace" discussion. You'll find some of the responses in the comments section (mom, scroll to the bottom of that entry's text and click on comments), but others chose to email their thoughts. Top responses regarding positive workplace include:

1) good supervisors
2) positive attitudes of co-workers
3) doing what you find inspiring
4) independence
5) administration trusting that you can do your job well (and doesn't try to do it for you)
6) administration giving credit where credit is due

Items that create negative workplace include:

1) cattiness/negativity among co-workers
2) poor management
3) poor ethics
4) micromanagement
5) favoritism
6) brown-nosers
7) finding little purpose in your work
8) only seeing dollar signs

The following is courtesy of my friend Candy...

From the Natural Health field there is a lot of correlation between health and happiness and doing what one's "calling" is, more of a vocation than a job. Are you familiar with Bach Flower Remedies? Edward Bach believed in the relationship between emotions and physical health, and felt the first step in good health is working in an area you love and have a sense of purpose. His writings are pretty short and straight forward, you may be interested in looking at them for your work. Have you read "How Starbucks Saved My Life?" It is a pretty quick read and gives a great perspective on work and happiness.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Return of Buddy!

My parents risked it and took Amtrak out for a weekend visit. They were scheduled to arrive Saturday night, so Steve and I made plans for an afternoon of skiing. Iris on skis was not a pretty site. Actually, I was rarely on my skis. All I did was fall. Big, sloppy, injury risk falls. The last one had me eating snow. I wish I could say that the falls took place on challenging runs. Nope. Most were on easy, groomed slopes. The last straw was on the way to the lodge for a rest when a tree fell over blocking the way. We had to take off the skis, walk around the tree, then attempt to put back on the skis for the rest of the way. I was so tired, I couldn't even get my ski back on. There was a little boy next to me having the same problem, throwing a tantrum, and I desperately wanted to throw one too. So, I said, "Steve, I have to be honest, I am NOT enjoying this." We went back to the lodge, ate some pizza, and Steve headed out to ski while I fell asleep in a huge armchair near the fireplace for 45 minutes. A bomb could have gone off and I wouldn't have known. I didn't realize I was that exhausted.Rejuvenated after my nap, we went out to Mambo Italiano for some good food and wine, then saw a total chick flick, "Definitely, Maybe," waiting for the train.

The next day, we spent some time hiking around our cabin, cooking, and catching up. Monday morning brought a surprise visit from Buddy, the neighborhood dog. I hadn't seen him since late fall when he'd run with me during the afternoons and weekends. Mom happened to look out the window and there he was waiting at my door. After lots of hugs and kisses, he did the expectant "Are we going for a run now?" look. So, Dad and I went for a hike with Buddy playing in the snow the entire way.

That afternoon, we headed into Glacier to hike part of the trail to Sperry Chalet. It was very warm, with well packed snow - no snow shoes required. It was a really good weekend. I hope my parents had as much fun as I did.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Local news newsworthy?

Hammer Nutrition, a local company, is being sued by three athletes because of allegations that Endurolytes contained banned substances leading to positive doping results. You can read the story here. Any thoughts?

Because the days are getting longer, I've got a good hour of daylight to play outside if I leave work on time. As I left today, I called Steve to ask, "If I just feel a twinge of pain today, can I run?" His response, "Better wait another day." OK, but the seed was already planted in my brain - gotta run, gotta run. I called him from home, and said "I'm going for a walk," part of me really believing it, despite the fact that I had put on running clothes and yak trax. Now I understand the message in the book "Addictive Thinking." A person can truly think one thing, and completely do another. A quarter mile into my "walk," I started to run, and didn't stop until I'd done 3.2 miles. It felt good to work the muscles, although I have a little more swelling and pain than earlier. The last .6 mile uphill to my house, though, was awesome. Usually, I power hike it, but today, I actually was able to run most of it. The winter snow training has been good for me!

I'll be visiting the kids at my old job tomorrow night, watching them put on a talent show. It should be a good time. I hope your Valentine's Day is a good one!

Monday, February 11, 2008


The foot is a mess - more swollen today than yesterday, and hurts to walk on it. It's strange to me that I hurt it sometime during the run yesterday, and I have absolutely no idea how or when. Does that mean I was "in the zone," experiencing the "runner's high," or completely unaware of my own pain threshold? Bottom line, I may be in the cheer section for Snow Joke after all.

As for "Skinny Bitch," let's just say that it's not my kind of book. I'm all for the "tough love" approach when it's appropriate, and I completely support people who want to clean up their lifestyle, get a gym membership, go vegan, carry huge Nalgene's of water, etc. Whatever works. For me, the message of this book was lost in the writing style, language and general attitude. Just my opinion - it might be the kick in the butt someone else out there needs. One last statement - I'm OK with people not eating meat - I just don't like meat referred to as "crap." I happen to like it, even need it in moderation, so while I'm on the topic, do any of you MT folk know where I can purchase some good bison?

Danni, two posts this week, just for you!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Running and Reviews

When I lived in Great Falls, I forced myself to get outside and run, regardless of the incessant wind. Since moving west of the mountains, I've become spoiled. If the wind is above 15 mph, I now choose to be lazy and do something else with my time. The result? Not much running until this weekend. I need to rethink my strategy.

By Saturday, the weather mellowed and I went out for an 11 mile run. Some of the trails and logging roads were snow packed, and I chose a route with some very long, gradual hills. It ended up taking me over two hours. It was a little frustrating because the new snow was slushy so it stuck to my yak-trax. I tried running without them, but would hit icy patches and go flying. On and off came the yak-trax, adding to my time outside. I did try the nuun electrolyte drink. It tastes pretty good, but is a little too "fizzy" for me.

Today, my running group ran an out and back on roads near Strawberry Lake. It was icy, so we tried to stick to the crunchy snow on the side of the road. My legs were fatigued from yesterday and by mile 8, I was tired. Lucky for me, I ran with Tom on the way back, who entertained me with stories and ideas for future running routes. We ended up doing 12 miles, and then had a huge breakfast. When I got up to walk again, I felt pain. Sure enough, I've got an egg on the side of my foot. I don't remember twisting it, but I slipped a few times on icy spots, so may have overstretched a ligament. I guess that is a good excuse to rest and read a good book.

Speaking of...the latest reviews. This is for friends who complain about "too much running talk" in this blog!

"Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality" by Pauline Chen - Really good to read, even for those of us not in the medical profession. I've got the title linked to Amazon to encourage you to check it out.

"Mercy" by Jodi Picoult - One of her earlier books. It wasn't my favorite. Too much going on at the same time.

"The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" - I thought this would be really interesting. Steve and I both tried to finish it, but neither of us did. Not a very objective view.

"Juno" - Awesome movie about a teenager and her decisions regarding an unplanned pregnancy, cool soundtrack, definitely one to see.

"The Bucket List" - One of those good "what to do on a windy Saturday" type movie about two terminally ill men who make a list of things to do before they die. I love both Morgan Freeman and Jack Nickolson, so would see pretty much anything with the two of them.

Next on my movie list (recommendation from Ruth) is "There Will be Blood." Anybody seen it? What did you think? Worth going to? On the book list (borrowed from Danni) is "Skinny Bitch." We'll see about this one...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mount Helena City Park

This past week, I got to travel to Helena for work. Just for fun, Steve and I drove down a day early so we could play in the park. For those who have never explored the area, Mount Helena City Park (picture above) is basically a mini mountain within city limits. You can hike to the top of Mount Helena at 5460 feet. There are several trails that are easily accessible and interconnected so you can get in a long, short, easy or tough workout. Steve hiked while I spent an hour attempting to run the snow packed Prospect Shaft, Dump Out, and Hanging Draw trails. At least those are the ones I think I explored. Although I've been on these trails before, they look completely different in the winter.

After spending each day absorbing work related information, I was eager to get outside. Unfortunately, Monday and Tuesday brought on a horrible sinus infection (it had been coming on for some time - I just chose to ignore it until my teeth started to hurt). I ended up on antibiotics and had to spend my leisure time resting. It wasn't too bad considering the temperatures dropped to -30 windchill. I did manage a couple shorter easy runs during the week which took me on an interesting tour of Helena's not so finest areas.

On Friday, I was "released" early and headed to the park again for a long workout. The run started out beautiful - sun shining, warm temperatures, no wind. This time, I took the Prairie Trail up and around the mountain to the West End and Backside trails. With all the new snow and high winds we'd had earlier in the week, it was a game just trying to locate the trails. At some point along the Backside trail, I came across a section that was completely covered by snow. I tried to navigate it, but the snow came up past my knees. At this point, I was getting tired, and even with snow gear, I feared getting wet with a lot of traveling yet to do, so I turned back. On the way back, I wanted to take the Ambrose trail around to the car. I ended up on the Swaney trail, which takes you down to another parking area. By this time, the clouds were rolling in and the wind had picked up. Instead of going back up, I ran on roads for another 45 minutes until I reached my car. I ended up getting a 2:15 workout, and was exhausted. I was reminded again of how unpredictable weather can be, especially at above 5,000 feet. The following pictures are from my car at the end of my run - dark clouds, wind and blowing snow.
Double click on each picture if you want to experience the weather more clearly!